Monday, October 24, 2011

Florida Keys {Preparation & Day 1}

I'm the kind of person who has to prepare for everything. Days before we left for vacation, I was making lists and airing out my suitcases. My train case smelled like stale old lady perfume. Just being honest here.

This was my first time traveling with all vintage luggage! :) It was a lot of fun, carrying my green suitcase and black train case.

Besides a packing list, I also had a list of movies to watch and books to read before we left. I know I'm a nerd, but that's okay. :) These are the films I watched in relation to our trip:

-Key Largo. Obviously because it takes place in the largest of the Florida Keys. Plus, it's just a good movie starring Bogie and Bacall. It's honestly worth watching just for the showdown on the boat.

-To Have and Have Not. This is the film adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel. It cracks me up that the plot summary says it is "supposedly based on the novel" because it's true. The film is so different it's hilarious. But I'm reading the novel right now (it takes place in the Keys- they changed the location for the film), and the movie is so much better honestly. I don't like the book at all (I've heard it's Hemingway's worst novel). The film is just okay, but Lauren Bacall pretty much saves it.

-The African Queen. The original boat is on display in Key Largo. So that's a perfect excuse to rewatch this awesome film. :)

{I think it's an odd coincidence that all three of my Keys-related movies star Humphrey Bogart.}

I also read my first Ernest Hemingway book- The Old Man and the Sea. It was actually a lot better than I expected, since I'm not into fishing. Hemingway spent a lot of time in the Florida Keys, and we visited his house there. But more on that later. :)

So...packed up and ready, we left early Sunday morning. We drove about 12 of the 16 hours that day. I love road trips, but we were trying to get in as many miles as possible and interstates get boring after a while. I have another list for you. :)

10 Ways to Pass the Time on a 16 Hour Car Trip

1. Play Slug Bug (also known as Punch Bug). I only started playing after my arm got sore from my brother's punches.

2. Read billboards. Aloud, if you want to be slightly annoying. Unless it's a really good one, then it's not annoying.

3. Tie knots in your iPod cord. When I started knitting, it took me a while to get the hang of making a slipknot. I found myself unconsciously making knots in my iPod cord until I thought, isn't that what they made Finnick do when he was going crazy? Hm. Drop the cord.

4. Knit.

5. Read. Unless you get carsick while reading, which thankfully I don't. I can't imagine not being able to read on long trips!

6. Try to embroider. Note to self: this is a lot more difficult than usual while riding in a large, straight gear bumpy truck. There are more finger pricks than usual.

7. Play air guitar and/or fiddle to 80s songs. We have a tradition of blasting the "station that plays everything" during the last few night hours of a long trip, to keep the driver (and everyone else) awake and alert. I won't say which member of my family plays a mean air guitar. But it was highly amusing at 1:30 a.m. :)
8. Watch for bald eagles. We saw several last time we went to Florida. We didn't see a single one on the way down this year, but Mom saw three, maybe four, on the way back.

9. Take bad pictures of family members when they least expect it. This would be my mom. I might include some of these pictures later.

10. Make a travel playlist. This is mine. It's a little random, I know. Some of the songs have absolutely nothing to do with traveling or places we passed through, but I listened to all of these songs a lot during the ride.

We left Virginia and passed through North Carolina and South Carolina before lunch. In South Carolina, we went through this little town called Society Hill. According to the sign, it was founded in the 1700s, and there were so many gorgeous old houses. There was also one house that went all out with Halloween decorations. Including a sunbathing skeleton,wearing a wig, and a real casket. It was interesting. :)

My family always likes it when we start seeing cotton fields and orange groves, because we don't have any of that here. Some of the cotton fields were so full it looked like it had snowed.

We passed by Jacksonville, Florida:

This is what long car rides do to my brother. This is definitely a creepy face, and you'll be seeing more photos of his interesting escapades in other vacation posts.

We watched the sunset from the road.

Trees growing on an overhead bridge. Because this is the sort of weird thing I like taking pictures of. :)

We stopped for the night near Cape Canaveral. Up next: day 2! The beginning of The Rain and arriving in the Keys.

{The photos get better, I promise. There aren't but so many pictures to take during a car trip! And my other vacation posts won't be so rambling. At least I don't expect so. :)}

Until next time,


  1. You are too funny! I love how you had movies to watch and books to read before you left. =)
    Can't wait to see more pics!

  2. LOVE Florida! And Cape Canaveral is where I always stay down there. Have fun!


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